Jose Bautista agrees to one-year, $18 million deal with the Blue Jays

Jose Bautista is returning to Toronto. After looking unlikely for most of the offseason, Bautista and the Blue Jays have reportedly reached a one-year deal worth $18 million, with a mutual option for 2018.

Jose Bautista is staying with the Toronto Blue Jays, at least through next season.

The 36-year-old slugger has reached a one-year deal to stay north of the border, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. John Heyman  notes that he deal is worth $18 million, though options for the next three seasons could make the deal worth $60 million.

The amount of $18 million makes this deal worth more than the one-year qualifying offer that Bautista rejected back in November.

Rumors of Bautista’s impending return to Toronto started to grow on Monday after a tweet from pitcher Marcus Stroman welcoming him back.

For most of the offseason, it appeared that the Blue Jays and Bautista were headed in different directions. Bautista was seeking a multi-year deal in free agency that Toronto was not willing to give him. Meanwhile, the Jays wanted to get younger and more left-handed. But the offseason did not go as planned for either Bautista or the Blue Jays.

After not signing Dexter Fowler watching Edwin Encarnacion land in Cleveland, Bautista became the best option available for the Jays. For Bautista, it was a case of the free agent market not wanting to surrender a first round pick for the 36-year old.

The Jays were hoping for that high pick to help rebuild a farm system that was depleted to get Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and David Price.

Signing Bautista does neither of those things for Toronto, but it does address the team’s need for outfield depth.

Coming off an injury plagued 2016 campaign, there is hope that Bautista’s numbers can improve in 2017 to fill the hole left by Encarnacion. He played in just 116 games in 2016, hitting .234 with 22 home runs and an OPS of .817.

Acquired in a relatively minor deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2008, Bautista established himself as one of the best power hitters in the game after slugging 54 home runs in 2010. He has been the face of the franchise ever since. He also hit one of the most memorable home runs on franchise history during Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS against the Texas Rangers.

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